Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.


Regular readers can support Behind The Black with a contribution via paypal:


Or with a subscription with regular donations from your Paypal or credit card account:


If Paypal doesn't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to

Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

Comet landing site confirmed

European engineers have finalized the landing site on Comet 67P/C-G for Rosetta’s Philae lander.

The link includes much detail about what Philae will do both on the way down as well as after it lands. November 12 will be quite exciting.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


  • danae

    It will be, indeed. One question: The news release states that Rosetta will accompany the comet through their closest approach to the Sun next August and onward to the outer Solar System. Will Rosetta require guidance from the ground to stay with the comet as they move away from the vicinity of Earth, or will this be a natural process?

  • With objects as small as the nucleus of Comet 67P/C-G, it requires significant engineering skill to keep Rosetta close by and in “orbit.” In truth, the spacecraft really isn’t in an orbit. Instead the two objects are orbiting the Sun in tandem with each other.

    At some point, when Rosetta’s fuel supplies run low, a decision will have to be made. Either they can send it on its own path, or they can try to bring it down on the surface, as NASA engineers did with NEAR when it was traveling with the asteroid Eros.

  • danae

    That’s interesting. Thanks for the clarification, Bob. I wasn’t aware of the NEAR mission when it took place.

Readers: the rules for commenting!


No registration is required. I welcome all opinions, even those that strongly criticize my commentary.


However, name-calling and obscenities will not be tolerated. First time offenders who are new to the site will be warned. Second time offenders or first time offenders who have been here awhile will be suspended for a week. After that, I will ban you. Period.


Note also that first time commenters as well as any comment with more than one link will be placed in moderation for my approval. Be patient, I will get to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *